Poll: Americans Fear Democracy Has Been Weakened

In the latest Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll, Americans say they are worried about the state of democracy and the possibility of another attack on the Capitol

As the nation approaches the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, an overwhelming majority of poll respondents are worried about the future of democracy, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll of registered voters taken Dec. 27-30.

More than 71% of those polled said America’s democracy is weaker than it was four years ago. And eight in 10 respondents from across all political parties said they are very or somewhat worried about the future of America’s democracy. A majority of Republicans (58%) continue to maintain that President Joe Biden wasn’t legitimately elected to the White House, despite multiple investigations in several states showing no voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

“Voters across all political parties agree that the nation’s democracy is in jeopardy,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “However, Democrats and Republicans are coming to this conclusion from very different places.”

Respondents split on Jan. 6 Capitol attackers

Those who stormed the Capitol were viewed as criminals attempting to overturn a legitimate presidential election by 85% of Democrats polled. In contrast, 56% of Republicans said it was a protest aimed at preventing a fraudulent election, and 66% of those voters said that the protestors had a point, but “went too far.”

Thinking about the events at the Capitol last January 6, which comes closer to your view?
Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll Jan. 4, 2022

Voters have mixed view of House committee investigation

As the special House committee continues to gather evidence, a majority of voters (53%) say the investigation is important for the future of democracy, while 42% say it is a waste of time.
However, 54% of voters from all political parties questioned whether the committee would be able to provide a complete and accurate account of what happened on Jan. 6. Democrats had the highest levels of confidence in the process, with 70% saying they were very or somewhat confident. But the lion’s share of Republicans (79%) and independents (57%) said they were not very or not at all confident in the investigation’s credibility.

Nearly half believe another attack on the Capitol could happen

The country is evenly divided about whether there will be another attack on the Capitol in the future. Overall, 46% said it was very or somewhat likely to happen, while 48% said it was not very, or not at all, likely. Among 2020 Biden voters, 63% said it was likely, while 65% of Trump voters said it was not likely. Those who didn’t vote in 2020 were almost equally split on the likelihood of another attack.

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